I recently had the pleasure of visiting Nuremberg, Germany, to speak at an autoerotic asphyxiation conference and present my latest paper, entitled ”
Prologue and Illness in Autoerotic Asphyxiation: the Objectification of Modern Technology in Feminist Iconography of Hypoxyphilia.” I enjoyed my stay greatly, aside from some minor issues with customs involving my erotic viewmaster reel collection. Asparagus was in season, and I spent a large amount of money on gummy bears, which I plan to soak in liquid MDMA and bring to baseball games.
While in the motherland, I decided to sample my favorite beverage, Vicks NyQuil. Of course, in German, the term vicks refers to sexual penetration, something the company quickly found out after their cough drops were first introduced on the market in Europe. Instead, Proctor and Gamble uses the brand Wick, and their night-time cough medication is named MediNait.
My first stop in any new country is to a chemist or pharmacy, to determine the availability of any over-the-counter codeine products. Unfortunately, codeine is listed in the Betäubungsmittelgesetz as a controlled substance, requiring a prescription. However, because I am a bit of an enthusiast, I purchased a 90ml bottle of MediNait and decided to take it for a spin. Unfortunately, I had mixed results.
First, the good news. The product does look as inviting as its stateside counterpart: a smooth, translucent green syrup. The outer packaging retains the same motif as its American version, meaning the type and iconography of the design lends the same smooth, calming reaction to those of us hopelessly addicted to cough syrup. A pleasant surprise was that inside the box, the product is actually shipped in a real glass bottle, which is perfect for refrigeration if you prefer drinking yours cold.
Unfortunately, the breakdown of the formula is disappointing for enthusiasts. The US version contains 30 mg of Dextromethorphan HBr and 12.5 mg of Doxylamine succinate per 30 mL dosage; the German version weighs in at 15 and 7.5, respectively. Of course, it’s a fierce argument among aficionados as to whether the Dextromethorphan or the Doxylamine is giving you more bang for your buck in the cocktail, but the fact that it contains half the Dextromethorphan is telling. A slight bit of good news is that the Paracetemol content — known as Acetaminophen to us Yanks — is at 600 mg, 50 mg lower than the US version. This isn’t a selling point to those of us who don’t care about our livers, but if you’re watching your Tylenol consumption, this is something to consider.
The taste of the German version is quite punctual, however. To my palate, it did not have the syrupy sweetness of the American version. It was much more medicinal in flavor, not a bitter or strong overtone, but much more sharp and dry. I’m not a ten-year-old that needs the taste of bubble gum and candy to down cold medication I’m abusing for its hypnotic properties, so this is a welcome change. It tastes so horrible, you know it’s working. Unfortunately, at this crippled formulation, it isn’t.
Also an issue was the price. I purchased a 90 mL bottle for 14,48 € at an Apotheke in the DB train station, which at current exchange rates, is close to $20 US. Compare that to the going rate here, which is $10.49 for a 12-ounce bottle at my local CVS. That’s 355 mL, or close to a dollar a dose, versus the German price of 6.66 USD per dose. Yes, it’s a nice nod to our Lord Satan, and none of us actually drink a single 30 mL dose, but this is still highway robbery.
I’d advise European travelers to purchase their product domestically and break it down into four-ounce travel bottles, which can be carried in a quart-sized ziploc bag on a plane. (OTC medication is exempt from the TSA three-ounce rule that applies to toiletries.) This was an unfortunate blemish on an otherwise stellar trip, but hopefully one you can plan for before your next visit.